How to Enjoy Couponing, Without Being Extreme {12/31 Days to Enjoy Life}

#31Days, Debt Repayment, shopping

It has been a lazy Saturday, although it was spent mostly out of my house. A couple weeks ago my local newspaper had a sale outside of the grocery store for several weeks of the paper for $20. I asked if they had a Sunday Only deal, and lo and behold they did! I’m officially a Sunday paper subscriber until well into 2014.

Part of my goal in getting the Sunday paper was going back to cutting coupons. When I lived in Big City the main coupon inserts came as junk mail. I was able to save money without getting the paper.

Back then I had a coupon organizer I got at the dollar store. It was mostly made out of some sort of paper and had pre-printed categories. It wasn’t perfectly fit for me, but it worked great for about a year until it fell apart. Last Sunday I went through the paper and ripped out the pages of coupons I thought I would actually use. Then this pile of paper sat on my floor for six days. I needed another organizer.

Thankfully, I went to Target today to pick up a space heater and remembered to check out their office supply aisle. I was able to grab this coupon organizer on sale for $3.79. Note: I think this is successful rebranding, don’t you? These used to be called “Pocket Files” and now they all say coupons right on the sticker.

Enjoy Couponing I came home and got started with the organizing. The folder came with pre-filled out tabs on one side and blank on the other. The pre-filled out tabs had nothing to do with coupons (see, rebranding). I did some googling and read a lot of e-hows and forums about the best categories.

Enjoy Couponing

The site in this photo is Coupon Geek

In the end I wrote 9 categories and left a few blank to see what coupons I’d picked out that didn’t fit into a category.

Here are some tips I’ve learned in couponing. I hope they help you enjoy couponing a little more:

  1. Only cut the coupons you think you’ll use. If you cut every single coupon it will waste both your time cutting, and your time going through and throwing out the expired coupons you didn’t use.
  2. Get a simple and easy system for holding your coupons. The mini folder works for me because I can keep it in my purse all the time. If you are a new couponer and try to set up a fancy, intricate system, you will likely get overwhelmed – leading to frustration at the checkout lane.
  3. Make a list.
  4. Consider alternative coupon sources. I’m a huge fan of in store apps, as I’ve said before. They have coupons tailored to your shopping habits AND for rare items like produce and meat. Additionally, Swagbucks has printable coupons that ALSO earn you points when you redeem them. Win-win!

And if you’re curious, here are the categories I settled upon:

  • Cleaning and Paper
  • Baking
  • Frozen
  • Meat & Produce
  • Condiments
  • Canned
  • Snacks
  • Beverages
  • Health and Beauty
  • Meal Helpers & Spices
  • Restaurants

I left one section blank to put the coupons I pull out during that shopping trip. Two categories that dollar store organizer had that I don’t need are “Baby” and “Pets.” So you might want to include those in your coupon organizer.
31 days 250x250 photo 5eabe9d2-70c2-45ad-8670-98b3818ec230_zpsf76744ff.jpg
One last way to enjoy couponing: 5. Check out your receipt when you leave the store! It always feels good knowing you saved money. Every little bit helps!

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  • Reply
    Jessa O
    October 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I love this! It’s so overwhelming sometimes, but this breaks it down super easy.

    • Reply
      October 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      I’m so glad it’s helpful, Jessa. I think it’s so easy to get buried under all of the couponing options. Keeping it simple and easing into the more complicated strategies is the only way to not get overwhelmed!

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